LV Recommends: Sauce Bar & Bistro

Photo by Susan Bednar Blind
Photo by Susan Bednar Blind

If there is a grapefruit-infused beverage, I’m probably going to order it. Overtly fruity beers should be illegal, yet I’ll drink an IPA with hints of grapefruit all day long. So it was with great rejoicing that I discovered my new favorite drink at Sauce Bar & Bistro: Rosemary’s Salt of the Dog features Hendrick’s spiced gin and their house grapefruit cordial, garnished with a sprig of rosemary. Shake it and throw it in a stemmed martini glass and keep ‘em coming. The salted rim perfectly complements the refreshing tang of grapefruit while the hint of pine from the rosemary offsets any sweetness.

Sauce opened in a beautifully renovated building in Cedar Rapids’ Czech Village in mid-2015. I fell in love with their eclectic rotating menu featuring locally sourced ingredients, but it’s the amazing cocktails that draw me to their glossy dark wood bar while out for an evening with friends. The tin ceiling and gorgeous floors provide a simple elegance, and the atmospheric lighting flatters my newly-turned-40 features.

A recent visit near closing time allowed me to interact with the friendly, dynamic staff. The low-pressure quiet at the end of the evening let them relax and share their irreverent senses of humor. There are few things I enjoy more than an irreverent sense of humor—Rosemary’s Salt of the Dog excepted, of course.

Change is hard, but I force myself to try new things, especially cocktails. I thoroughly enjoy Sauce’s summery Rolling Basil Smash with Iowa-grown sweet basil, Hendrick’s gin, St. Germain and Benedictine shaken, so the drink menu says, “to make a light aromatic cocktail with a fresh basil overtone.” The Sex & the City-esque Persephone Martini refreshes with PAMA Liqueur, Cointreau, Absolut and Chambord; add fresh pomegranate and grapefruit juices (again with the grapefruit!) and it’s a close second to my beloved Rosemary’s.

Rosemary’s Salt of the Dog would make an interesting brunch alternative to mimosas or Bloody Marys, but is there really a wrong time for a classy cocktail? The answer is no; no, there is not.

This article was originally published in Little Village issue 193.

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